Wolfram Alpha: A Force For Good Or a New Propaganda Outlet? → Washingtons Blog
Wolfram Alpha: A Force For Good Or a New Propaganda Outlet? - Washingtons Blog

Monday, May 4, 2009

Wolfram Alpha: A Force For Good Or a New Propaganda Outlet?

Everyone agrees that the "next big thing" on the web is Wolfram Alpha. Instead of searching like Google, Wolfram Alpha will use artificial intelligence to directly answer your question.

There is no doubt that the guy behind Wolfram Alpha, Stephen Wolfram, is a genius. And I have absolutely no evidence that Dr. Wolfram is himself a propagandist.

However, it strikes me that something touted by all the mainstream media as having the potential to replace Google, - and that gives "official" answers to questions - has alot of potential for propaganda.

For example, if I type in "Iraq War" into Wolfram Alpha's engine, will I get back an answer like

A war based on false pretenses which was so expensive that it has bankrupted America
or will I get back something like

A necessary campaign in fighting terrorism and making the world safe for democracy

If the later, it will just be a new outlet for propaganda.

Especially given that the Department of Homeland Security apparently considers everyone in the "alternative media" to be terrorists (see this, this and this), there is little doubt that government propagandists would at least like to use Wolfram Alpha to "guide" web surfers to the "correct" answer.

1 comment:

  1. I would hope that a majority of us webacholics are smart enough by now to not depend on a single point source. Yet everyday I joust with folks whose only source is Fox News, hardly a reliable source, but as far as that goes neither are the rest of the TV news sources. So I back up net research with selected other radio and Tv shows and yes I do watch some Fox news to be on the safe side. Wolfram will be fun to test out but it will never become my single point source.


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